Commanding Fire is one officer's story of commanding a machine gun platoon on the battlefields of northern France in 1918. Included are firsthand company and battalion accounts making it the first published history of the 151st Machine Gun Battalion, 42nd Rainbow Division. Every significant American engagement in World War I is covered including action in Lorraine, Champagne, Chateau-Thierry, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne, and service in the Army of Occupation. Lieutenant Parkinson recounts defense and attack, trench and open warfare, night and day operations, waiting and marching, monotony and terror, daily life and deadly action. He traces the development of machine gun tactics and tells previously unknown stories about the Rainbow Division and one of its brigade commanders, Douglas MacArthur.
Lieutenant N.P. Parkinson (1890-1978) was born in Centralia, Illinois, and graduated from Millikin College in Decatur, Illinois, before joining the army on July 4, 1917. After his commission as a second lieutenant he was assigned to the 151st Machine Gun Battalion, 42nd Rainbow Division where he commanded a machine gun platoon through all the major fighting of the Division. Following the war Parkinson was an insurance agent, state official, and executive in Illinois.Editor Joel R. Parkinson is the youngest grandson of Lieutenant Parkinson. A graduate of the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Parkinson spent eight years in research & development for nuclear submarines during the Cold War before entering the ministry. He is currently pastor of Covenant Bible Church in Alliance, Ohio, as well as the Director and Curator of the World War History & Art Museum in Alliance.

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